(705) 443-9786 karenssoapbox@gmail.com

We have now been married for 19 years, we did take a 3-year hiatus, but we never stopped living together. So I have decided that for 3 years of our marriage we lived in an open relationship. In reality that is what we did.

My husband is likely one of the most gentle spirits on the planet, he came into my life when I was the single parent of an amazing 9-year-old boy. From the very beginning, he loved him like a parent, the words step son rarely came from his mouth, he was always just “my son.”  Since then we have added a beautiful daughter to our lives. We may parent very differently, but we share the load and lead with love.

Parenting is not the only thing we do differently, my husband and I are complete polar opposites. To give you an idea, his retirement plans is a gated community in Florida spending his days playing tennis and golf. Mine is to live in different huts all over South America studying culture and helping in impoverished communities.

Our life has been this way from day one – if you see the Yin and Yang symbol this is us. Which makes this marriage not only the most challenging relationship but also the most rewarding.

Besides retirement here is where we differ, just to name a few.

Stature ….he is small I am large

Voice…I am loud he is soft spoken.

Sports….He is doubles tennis and every team sport he could play as often as he can. Me is running, biking, yoga, Nia any solitary sport I could play

Socially…he loves to have people around, I love to be alone

Books….I read constantly, usually non-fiction…him..a book? Why read a book when you could watch the movie?

Nature….I would live outside if I could……as long as everything is perfect he will go outside. He will spend hours shoveling and mowing the lawn, as long as there is an outdoor job he will do it.

God forbid he run into a bug!!

Music…I listen to anything and love anything off the beaten path…….he loves the top 40’s of multiple generations.

Food choices….I would never stick a processed food in my mouth if I was living the ultimate life….he loves spam and corned beef.

Risk…me…bring it on!! Him…why would I?

Trust me I could go on!!

So what is my little black spot on his white half and his little white spot on my black half? It is a few things really.

Both of us lead our lives with love, for both of us, our heart leads first. We both have a deep sense and belief in a higher power, it looks a little different, but at the core it is similar. We both LOVE to LAUGH and appreciate each other’s sense of humour. We love to dance, it is the one time he gets to lead 🙂

Lastly, but most importantly, we both let the other one be the absolute polar opposite.

When I need to disappear from the world he doesn’t question and just picks up the slack and when he needs to work or play sports incessantly I pick up the slack. After many years of trying to traverse this (code for huge blowouts!!), we have both finally come to understand that those are needs that we each have and if satisfied we are more able to come back and put energy into being a great couple.

How does that look in retirement? I think it means I get a host of good books for the time that I spend in the gated community and he finds some kids in the communities in South America for a pickup game of basketball.

Our life isn’t close to perfect…but it is perfectly us.  Anyone who ever said marriage is easy obviously was never married, it is not easy, but it is a decision every day to make a life for each other and our family of the utmost importance, together.

I will enjoy this crazy ride that is forever a moving target of love, sadness, happiness, frustration, laughter, grief and incredible JOY.

Happy Anniversary Alfredo Salcedo, forever grateful that we took this leap together.